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Basic Ebb & Flow, looking for advice on vertical farming.


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Old 07-14-2016, 09:24 PM
Tesseract Tesseract is offline
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Default Basic Ebb & Flow, looking for advice on vertical farming.

Hey everyone I'm just getting into hydroponics and here is my basic Ebb & Flow system I have running outside; because the sun is free.

I'm looking at setting up a vertical tower system with multiple towers in the fall to take the operation indoors. I'm wondering which brands or off-brand designs have people had success with in the past?

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Old 07-15-2016, 09:45 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Tesseract,
Why are you looking to buy a commercially manufactured hydro system instead of building your own custom hydro systems? Are you not comfortable building your own?
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:24 AM
Tesseract Tesseract is offline
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I'm looking at the options, basically I have an idea but no baseline to compare it with, so I'm looking at commercial options so I can see if my tower design and orientation works better or not.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:05 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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It's fine to look at commercially built systems to get ideas, but frankly not only are they overly expensive, but their not designed for your space as well as the specific plants your growing. Most new growers tend to want to design and build their hydroponic systems first, then decide what their going to grow in it. That's doing thongs backward. You always want to decide what you want to grow first, and how much of it you want to grow. Only then can you design and build a hydroponic system to do it to accomplish your goals efficiently. I mean it's like building a house, you need to decide what's going to be built on it, how big it will be, how many rooms it will have. etc. etc.. before you pour the foundation. If pour the foundation without fully thinking out what's going to be put on it, you just wind up having to start over.

I would suggest doing first things first, decide what you want to grow, as well as how much of it you want to grow. That's when you should start looking at the best way to design a system to maximize the space you have to work with. I personally have never bought a hydroponic system, every system I grow in is custom made by me for the crops that will be growing in it.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:43 PM
Tesseract Tesseract is offline
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I've got some test plant growing in a basic system outside too see what grows well that I'll be selecting from for the indoor system.
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Old 07-16-2016, 11:32 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Everything grows well in hydroponics if you build the hydroponic system to accommodate their needs, as well as supply the right growing environment. Again, that's why you need to know what will be growing in it first, so you can design the system for it. It doesn't mater what plants are growing in it, if you don't give the plants the right environmental growing conditions and design the system to accommodate their needs, they wont do well. You can grow anything hydroponically from root crops, to trees, to corn, berry's, herbs, micro greens, horseradish and wasabi, beans, been sprouts, Spanish, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, etc. etc. etc.. The only thing you can't grow hydroponically are mushrooms, and that's only because of a technicality in the definition of hydroponics. You can design a system to grow them, you just cant technically call it hydroponics.

Just because something grows well in one system and under certain conditions doesn't mean it will grow the same under other conditions and in another system. Not unless you mimic the same exact system and same exact conditions.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:45 PM
Tesseract Tesseract is offline
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Yes, my thoughts are towards Lettuce, berries and (sweet) Peppers, but I'm testing how easy is it to drow flowering vegetables vs. Greens as the added complicity may make it difficult. Plus I'm reading about pH and EC preferences pf plants to see which align and which do not.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:03 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Tesseract,
If your thinking of growing multiple plants in the same system, pH, nutrient type, and concentrations is only part of it. It's all the environmental factors as well. Understanding the environmental factors of a particular plant only takes a few minute if you know where to look for it and what your looking for. Pictures of a plant growing will be ale to tell you things like is it a bush, vine, or even ground cover type plant, what type of leaves it has, as well as how big it will get. The size of a plant above ground will also tell you how big the root mass will get, and the type of top support/trellis it will need if any. How big the plant gets and leaf size will tell you how much water the plant will drink up daily so you can size your nutrient reservoir to accommodate these needs.

Things like "how easy is it to drow flowering vegetables vs. Greens" is plant specific, not type like flowering vegetables vs. Greens. And again is easy to determine. Plants that tolerate wet feet better than others are what you would probably consider hardener to drown. But it's not called drowning, it's suffocation. There are two things to look for when determining how easy it is to suffocate a plants roots, your looking to see if the plant can tolerate wet feet, and/or more importantly if it needs well draining soil. Then you can take these things into consideration when deciding what type of growing media to use, as well as designing the hydroponic system around these needs. Suffocation isn't too much water, it's a lack of sufficient air and oxygen to the roots. Just like a human, you will be fine submerged in a pool of water unless you couldn't breath, then you would suffocate ("drown"). To find out how much air/oxygen the roots of a particular plant needs, you just need to find out how well it tolerates wet feet and/or what type of soil conditions it prefers.

Beyond just soil conditions, you also want to find our other environmental factors that will affect the plant like is it a spring, summer, or fall crop. Is it a continuously fruiting plant or does it fruit/flower near the end of it's life cycle. Humidity preferences, does it prefer full sun, part shade, mostly shade etc.. The planting time and growing zone (northern or southern crop). These things will tell you what type of light requirements it needs, temperature preferences and how heat tolerant it is, whether it's a cool weather crop or warm weather crop, fruiting cycles, etc. etc.. And all this information is easy to find on seed packages and online from seed manufacture websites. If your not already familiar with growing the plant, it only takes 10-15 minutes to research all you need to know about a particular plant to design a hydroponic system to accommodate it's needs. If you plan to grow multiple crops, it will also tell you what you need to know to see if they are similar enough to grow in the same system, or if their better off separated into separate systems.
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Old 07-19-2016, 01:38 PM
Tesseract Tesseract is offline
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Cool,

Food for thought, and I've been doing research and I'm thinking if I have to narrow down the selection I'm going to do Peppers with a side of cucumbers.

They seem to like similar thinking perennial crop that has a product that can last a few days and I can grow the cucumbers down as I grow the peppers up.

Thoughts?

Last edited by Tesseract; 07-19-2016 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 07-19-2016, 11:46 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Tesseract,
I think growing peppers and cucumbers in the same system would work well. Their both continuously fruiting plants with similar nutrient needs, as well as lighting needs. Their both large plants and would do well in a drip system. Determinate pepper plants are bush variety, while cucumbers are vines, so they will both need different types of top support. But that's quite simple and easy to do.

But with that said there are some environmental concerns that wont be an issue growing outside in natural sunlight, but can be a problem growing inside. Most peppers are self pollinating so they just need air currents to pollinate, but cucumbers need to transfer polling from male male flowers to female flowers. So if your going to grow them inside, you need to hand pollinate them yourself. If your growing them inside, because their both large plants as well as fruiting plants, the lighting will not only need to have good light intensity, but good even coverage as well.
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:52 AM
Tesseract Tesseract is offline
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Good to know. Can I use something like a feature duster to pollinate the flowers? And just keep using the same duster to continue to pollinate the cucumbers as I go?

The current setup thinking is a 3-wall setup:
~4x4 grow tent
- Three walls have cucumber vines growing from 1ft from the top down with support trusses.
- same three walls have pepper plants growing from the bottom up.
- after the first batch of plants I'll determine if I can put in a middle layer on each wall, but I want to avoid overcrowding.

For even and good lighting, how many lumens per sq ft is recommended?
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:46 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Tesseract,
Sorry about the delayed reply, but Ive been real busy lately. You can try letting the cucumbers grow from the top down, but I think they would do better having them grow upwards like normal. The foliage will likely be able to get better lighting that way. I know you want to use a grow tent to reflect light, but it can cause problems and I don't think you will see much benefit in the the enclosure. Rather just cause heat build up, humidity build up, and air circulation problems that can lead to nutrient uptake and fungal disease problems. Not to mention height restrictions.

Pepper plants grow as a bush, not vine unless your growing indeterminate varieties. You'll have a hard time trying to take a 3 dimensional plant and train it to grow 2 dimensionally. You will have to do a lot of trimming and pruning trying to keep three pepper plants small enough to fit in a 4x4 tent. If you look up pictures of some, you can see how big they can get.

Yes, you can hand pollinate the cucumbers. You can use a small artiest paint brush, or a better way is by plucking off the male flowers and using the flower directly on the female flowers. Here are a few links on how to pollinate cucumbers:

Pollination of Vegetable Crops
How to Pollinate Cucumber Plants
pollinating cucumbers videos
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:32 PM
Tesseract Tesseract is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello Tesseract,
Sorry about the delayed reply, but Ive been real busy lately. You can try letting the cucumbers grow from the top down, but I think they would do better having them grow upwards like normal. The foliage will likely be able to get better lighting that way. I know you want to use a grow tent to reflect light, but it can cause problems and I don't think you will see much benefit in the the enclosure. Rather just cause heat build up, humidity build up, and air circulation problems that can lead to nutrient uptake and fungal disease problems. Not to mention height restrictions.

Pepper plants grow as a bush, not vine unless your growing indeterminate varieties. You'll have a hard time trying to take a 3 dimensional plant and train it to grow 2 dimensionally. You will have to do a lot of trimming and pruning trying to keep three pepper plants small enough to fit in a 4x4 tent. If you look up pictures of some, you can see how big they can get.

Yes, you can hand pollinate the cucumbers. You can use a small artiest paint brush, or a better way is by plucking off the male flowers and using the flower directly on the female flowers. Here are a few links on how to pollinate cucumbers:
Understood, I'll set up a vine wall (plastic netting) on one side for the cucumbers and peas. I'll pollinate my hand (brush as suggested) to ensure everything is pollinated.

I'll also start growing the peppers on the floor, I'm purposely chosen pepper varieties that produce small plants and small fruit and orange not have a huge height problem.

I'll then leave the other two walls for small plants (lettuce etc) which has been shown to be okay growing horizontally.

Also talked to quite a few people and they suggest rather than LED to go T5HO instead, that I would be happier and have quite a bit more money left in my pockets.

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